Switching from Levo to natural T3/T4

The other day I was reading through an article on medicines to treat an underactive thyroid where it stated that if you have been on synthetic T4 (levothyroxine) for a number of years, in my case 8, that it was not possible to switch to a natural source like Armor if the Levo is not working. It didn't say why but is this true?

15 Replies

  • ...must have been an article written by the Levo production company methinks !  I was not aware - as I have often read of people on this forum changing over .....

  • Actually, it was on the Dr Mercola website, which is usually pretty reliable. I'll check it again.

  • Yes he is pretty reliable - but this just does not ring true on this occasion ....

  • Could you give us the link, please.

  • Frustrating! I'm trying to find it (and unblock my sink at the same time). I'll get back to you.

  • I was on levothyroxine only for about 12 years.   I started to feel ill on it after 10.    The two years I was going through tests, appointments etc. for each and every symptom (and there are many).    Finally I saw a private doctor who started me on T3.   After being on T3 for about 18 months and doing fine, I changed to Armour and have been on it now for well over 10 years with no problems with either Armour or the T3.    Hope that helps.

  • Sounds right. The problem I have is convincing my GP to let me switch! I've been on 100mg of Levo (various brands) for 8 yrs and although I don't have any of the debilitating symptoms, I feel cold unless it's over 22c, my nails are brittle, hair is dry, and I get sweating attacks, and in spite of an excellent diet and exercising regularly, my cholesterol is 5.1 (nearly all 'good' fat) as my last TSH reading in March was 2.37, Free T4 17.5 and Free T3 3.4, not only will my gp not let me up the dose to say 125mg, but also wont let me switch to Armour or one of the natural sources of T3.

    The problem seems to be, as far as I can tell, that my thyroid is not very good at converting the T4 (in the levo) to T3. In fact my thyroid has shrunk to around 1/3rd of its original size and my thyroglobulin antibodies are off the scale (Anti-TPO = 784 (0.00 - 150.00U/ml) and Anti-Thyroglobulin  Abs. 2346 (0.00 - 150.00U/ml)!! And I'm still trying get an explanation for these readings as my gp was clueless!

  • It's not your thyroid that converts T4 to T3, it's mainly the liver, but other tissues, too. However, it's perfectly possible that you aren't converting very well. Do you have ranges for the FT4 and FT3? It certainly does look as if you aren't converting.

    Your raised antibodies means that you have Hashimoto's disease, where the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, and slowly destroys it. That's why your gland has shrunk.

    I hate to hear people say 'my doctor won't let me' - who does he think he is? He's not there to give you orders, or forbid you to do things, he's there to advise you. And, so far, his advice doesn't sound very good, because your TSH is much too high. Why Don't you buy your own NDT? It's very unlikely you'd get it prescribed on the NHS, anyway.   

  • He is a she and claims that it's NHS rules that govern her. As to buying private? Forget it.

  • Well, she is either lying or ignorant. The NHS doesn't have that sort of rule, it has guidelines. But the doctor is actually free to prescribe anything if he beleives it's in the interests of his patient. She just doesn't want to take the responsibility.

    Have a look at this post by juliat, it's basically about T3, but she explains that doctors do actually have that freedom.

    However, there is certainly no rule that says she can't increase your dose of Levo!

    NDT can be very cheap if you know where to buy it.

  • The problem with going private (aside from the immense cost) is establishing the right dosage. There are dozens of natural thyroid sources on the market but I have no way of knowing what or how much I should take.

    Obviously I can't go to my gp once you go private. You say there are no rules to say what medications I can have but that simply isn't true. When I ask my gp to check out Armour for example, one, she's never heard of it and two, it's not on a list of drugs.

    You make it sound so easy but if that was so, this forum wouldn't exist as there'd be no need for it.

  • I am not saying it's easy at all, but it's not as difficult as you're making out. Just because your doctor has never heard of NDT, doesn't mean she's not allowed to prescribe it. If she did know about it, and thought it was best for you, she could, if she wanted to, prescribe it. Whether it's on the list of 'drugs' or not (it isn't a drug).

    I wasn't suggesting you went private, I was suggesting you bought your NDT on-line - not the same thing. Your doctor might still agree to monitor you. It does happen.

    But even a doctor has no way of knowing what dose you should be taking. There is no way of knowing, it's all trial and error. You just start low and increase slowly until you feel well. Plenty of people do do it, I Don't see why it would be more difficult for you. :) 

  • hi Greygoose, your advice sound really good. I am thinking of sourcing on-line and didnt think about asking the GP to monitor. have you any idea where I could get it? I have searched but its all a bit confusing. I need a swap from 100-125mcg of levo but am not sure what dose of NDT to buy. ive seen some on a canadian website but they are currently out of stock of some volumes. can you help?

  • I'll PM you.

  • Ok, thanks

You may also like...